State Senator David Simmons will likely be running for Congress in Florida’s 7th District in next year, challenging incumbent Democrat Stephanie Murphy in the battleground seat after meeting with members of the National Republican Congressional Committee and exploring other options.
“I’ve given it a lot of thought.” Simmons told the Observer on Saturday afternoon “I”ve met with the NRCC and I’m 98% headed towards a run in the 7th Congressional District.”
Simmons was the featured speaker at the Florida Federation of College Republicans Annual Meeting at the University of Central Florida, which is also part of the 7th District.
“The first thing this district needs is a Republican Congressperson. I think that’s critical.” said Simmons before referencing the work he was currently doing in the state legislature to improve the region.
Simmons meets a lot of the criteria party leaders are looking for in a potential candidate. He has strong name ID from years of representing the area in Tallahassee, he’s a proven fundraiser with access to his personal resources if needed, and his conservative credentials are strong enough to withstand scrutiny during a likely Republican primary.
The match up in the 7th District will be one of the most watched races in the state and possibly the nation in the 2018 election cycle. Stephanie Murphy, who was a political unknown a year ago was recruited to run against longtime incumbent John Mica after many others declined. Riding a wave of support from the Democratic Congressional Committee and strong anti-Trump sentiment in Orange County, Murphy pulled off the upset of the night last November.
State Senator Simmons has also been considering other options which has also included running for Florida Attorney General or returning to the private sector.
Democrats all over the state will face an uphill climb in the 2018 mid terms with Republicans typically turning out in higher numbers and virtually sweeping competitive races in the 2010 and 2014 mid terms.
Simmons will likely have to overcome a GOP primary before he gets an opportunity to challenge the incumbent. Other potential candidates include Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, and State Representative Mike Miller.
“I’m ready to move forward.” concluded Simmons.